Tue, Aug 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cities urge help to build flood basins

PREVENTION:The central government needs to step in to facilitate appropriation of public and private land to construct more flood basins, local governments said

By Lin Yi-chang, Chen Wen-chan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

As heavy rainfall and flooding wreaked havoc in central and southern Taiwan, local government officials said that flood basin construction is critical to alleviating the problem.

Kaohsiung has completed 13 basins out of the 15 planned with a budget of NT$6.8 billion (US$221 million), but the recent rains have prompted a decision to build three more, the city’s Water Resources Bureau Director-General Han Jung-hua (韓榮華) said on Sunday.

The cloudbursts brought almost as much rain to the city as Typhoon Morakot in 2009 and as much as 108mm of rain fell within a 24-hour period, with five districts reporting rainfall exceeding 100mm, he said.

The flood basins appear to be successful in containing potential damage from floods, he said.

About 370 hectares of land were affected by floods, compared with 6,800 hectares during Typhoon Fanapi in 2010, he said.

Chiayi County Commissioner Helen Chang (張花冠) said that the planned Paizihtou (埤子頭) drainage system in Kaohsiung would be a boon to the county.

The facilities are projected to take up 75.25km2 of land, and work on the floodgates and pumping station is expected to be completed by end of the year and May next year respectively, she said.

However, the Paizihtou drainage system has only one flood gate to Beigang River (北港溪), so local governments need to find land for five more flood basins to boost the system’s carrying capacity, she said.

The Ministry of the Interior has yet to approve requests for appropriation of privately owned land and state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp has refused to permit use of its property, she said.

The Executive Yuan needs to step in and help local governments that need land for public hydroengineering projects, she said.

Taiwan Sugar has previously said that it was willing to hand over its property for a flood basin without compensation if solar panels were installed, Chiyai Water Resources Department Director-General Lin Ku-hua (林谷樺) said.

However, the basin will have to be cleared during typhoons or heavy rainfalls, making them unsuitable for such structures, he said, urging the central government to intervene on behalf of the county for the project to go forward.

The Tainan City Government estimates that it would need NT$56 billion to complete a municipal river engineering and flood control project, of which NT$23.9 billion have been obtained, city Water Resources Bureau Director-General Peng Shao-bo (彭紹博) said.

The project is to widen river channels, raise the height of levees, and improve flood basin capacity pumping stations and drainage, he said.

The city is building a “smart” disaster-response system that would use a municipal water resource management data center to integrate information from pumps and other facilities, he said.

Additionally, the city will utilize the algorithmic predictive flooding model of the Water Resources Agency to speed up response time to flooding, he said.

Additional reporting by Wang Yi-pin

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